The sequel to the most successful R-rated comedy of all time received a tremendous amount of hype, and had huge shoes to fill. Did Part II recapture the magic of the first Hangover? Did it live up to the hyper, or even surpass it? Was it even a good movie?

It’s hard to beat “The Hangover” in originality, and Part II certainly deserves praise for trying. Unfortunately, it can’t quite live up to the original in terms of surprises, and WTF moments.

The film starts much as the original Hangover did, and viewers get to see a glimpse of how events would turn out at the end. We’re then flashed back and the actual plot is fleshed out. Without giving away too much, we’re given details about Stu’s (Ed Helms) wedding (not to the stripper from Vegas, btw). His fiancé is from Thailand, which is where the wedding is being held. Phil (Bradley Cooper) is not at all happy about having to travel, and derides Stu for wanting nothing more than a bachelor brunch. Stu also makes it very clear that he hasn’t forgotten about being drugged in Las Vegas in one of the funnier moments in the film.

Eventually, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is grudgingly invited to attend the wedding, in a scene in which we’re reintroduced to the photo album from the first movie (even though those photos were supposed to have been deleted).

Once in Thailand, hijinks ensue, leading up to their soon-to-be-infamous night partying. Sadly, the only sign of originality in this movie is that the formerly-abandoned Doug (Justin Bartha) isn’t lost this time, and is replaced by the underage brother of Stu’s fiancé as the source of their hangover-induced search.

Though The Hangover Part II has some genuinely funny moments, it fails to eclipse or even successfully recreate the magic of the original. Viewers are kept waiting for the next ‘gag’, and never quite reach the hilarity and craziness that its predecessor achieved. This film also fails to take true advantage of its setting, using Bangkok as merely a backdrop to the story, rather than utilize it as a character of its own. The plot also nearly mirrors The Hangover to extreme depths, preventing it from moving in its own direction, and setting itself apart.

Though certainly a very funny movie, with many laughs and some very memorable lines and scenes, it’s still very much a copy of the first, with slightly different events. However, hope is still alive, as there is still one man in the ‘Wolfpack’ that’s not married: Alan. Just the thought of watching what might happen after Alan’s bachelor party goes amuck has this viewer salivating for The Hangover Part 3 if–and when–it undoubtedly comes out.

– Reviewed by Bradley K. Brown

Movie Review: The Hangover – Part II

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